Our partners in Latvia elaborated an assessment of the technical, economic, and legal frameworks for the implementation of renewable energy community projects. The results of the study were presented at the meeting with national energy policy makers on March 6, 2020.
Co2mmunity compiled 8 country-specific handbooks in national language on community energy development for municipalities and citizen associations addressing their respective lacks, including information about organisational and financing possibilities, technical aspects, as well as local and regional CE potential. They have emerged from regional RENCOP processes, transnational exchange of best practices and experiences, as well as existing BASREC reports and scientific studies.
Our partner in Latvia – Riga Planning Region – in cooperation with its major local partners at the municipality of Mārupe implements a renewable energy community pilot project by establishing and monitoring a citizen-driven RENCOP and thus demonstrating the ways how individuals can work together with a joint purpose to initiate and run a small-scale renewable energy community project in Latvia. Another goal of the pilot activities is to prove that some of the existing problems that impede successful implementation of CE projects can be overcome in practice.
On March 6, 2020, to capitalise on our recent achievements in Latvia, the project team organised a workshop in Riga that brought together the national energy policy makers from the Ministry of Economics, independent energy experts and representatives of local municipalities and household associations to discuss opportunities for a more intensive use of renewable energy solutions and further development of the CE pilot projects in Latvia.
To initiate debate, our Riga team delivered three presentations, focusing on the existing situation in the municipality of Mārupe from the perspectives of renewable energy and energy efficiency, the technical, financial and legal potentials for CE projects in Latvia and the overall progress in the implementation of pilot activities in Mārupe. The presentations were followed by a heated still unanimous exchange of opinions on how to introduce the concept of renewable energy cooperatives to the national regulatory framework.
Meeting with the experts from the national energy policy makers was not the first time our Riga team presented the outputs of their project activities. The project team has already had several meetings with the national energy policy maker to discuss the contents of the local outputs and the contents of the newly approved National Energy and Climate Plan 2030 of Latvia.
The NECP 2030 is the most important strategic energy and climate policy document in Latvia that details goals, instruments and actions that contribute to the development of a climate neutral national economy. For the first time, the plan clearly demonstrates the necessity to encourage implementation of CE approaches in Latvia. It is hoped that the experiences of Co2mmunity will contribute to the elaboration of new instruments that facilitate renewable energy community projects in Latvia.
The solutions proposed by the residents of two condominium houses in Mārupe provide for the installation of rooftop solar panels and solar collectors thus co-financing and co-producing energy. The demonstration projects will be complemented by energy data monitoring and real-time imaging on the website of the municipality. The project team, municipal experts and external consultants guide the citizens and provide their expertise, including technical know-how. Other solutions are also currently worked out.
Please contact the project administrative coordinator at Riga Planning Region Mr. Ilgvars Francis (email@example.com) for more information on our activities in Latvia.
Have you heard of combined shallow geothermal drillings, with horizontal arrays, serving individual houses for heating and cooling?
- It’s a climate friendly energy system that provides cheap and efficient heating and cooling for houses.
- It’s a sort of “Cold District heating” because the system basically just provides a closed loop with continuous supply of refrigerant which is shared amongst the houses. Each house has its own heatpump that is using the collective system.
- It’s a system that works for large and small numbers of houses, and therefore suited for different sized communities. In Danish it’s called “Termonet”, in English Thermal net.
In the European funded project Co2mmunity, the concept has been developed in scale 1:1 in the municipality of Middelfart to support Renewable Energy Cooperation’s. However, a lot of work still has to be done to disseminate the advantages, possibilities and know-how.
Therefore, Danish frontrunners organised a virtual meeting where they founded the union “Termonet” on the 16th of March 2020.
The unions newly elected chairman, Søren Skjold Andersen, says: ”All the necessary technology is in place. We know all about heatpumps and buildings, but most often, systems are developed for just one building. There are massive advantages in combining the systems in collective systems. We are only seeing the beginning of the development that will produce new financial models, new ways for spatial planners to develop new cities and retrofit existing, new ways for entrepreneurs and organisational experts to provide climate friendly solutions. With our new union “Termonet” we have created a platform where people can meet and share knowledge. Anyone can join us, and we already have industry, research, private organisations and representatives from the public sector in our union.
In Denmark, there are five termonet systems, some are running and some are under construction. They can be visited in Silkeborg, Skjoldbjerg, Brenderup, Værløse and soon in Jyllinge. Feel free to contact the union Termonet, if you want to learn more about the initiative or technology.
Chairman, Søren Skjold Andersen, CEO Geodrilling, tlf. +45 22 44 08 71.
Boardmember, Morten Mejsen Westergaard, municipality of Middelfart and partner in Co2mmunity, tlf. +45 2054 4795
There is a Danish site www.termonet.dk and further information in English is to be elaborated.
Two weeks ago, a Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress was held in Tallinn, Estonia. In the end, a Joint Declaration of Intent was signed. You can read the text in the following or see the pdf-document here.
Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress
Forum Declaration Tallinn, March 11/12, 2020
At the Community Energy Forum, the Co2mmunity project partners, representatives of ministries, energy institutes and agencies, municipalities and regions as well as universities were from all over the Baltic Sea Region of the European Union were gathered in presence of the president of REScoop.eu to exchange, discuss and debate about community energy, renewable energy sources and investment projects. This declaration has been signed by the attendants.
Let’s take initiative!
The Community Energy Forum has been dedicated to Renewable Energy Communities (now formally recognised in the EU Clean Energy Package) in the Baltic Sea Region and its future development. The discussion was about the state of community energy in the Baltic Sea countries as well as what national, regional and local/municipal authorities can and will have to do to encourage and support Community Energy initiatives through a change in policy-making.
We want to promote Community Energy (CE):
- The recent Green Deal of the European Union includes:
- the claim for clean, affordable and secure energy setting out the requirements that future energy systems must meet. These requirements can be fulfilled by enabling and facilitating energy communities to take an assured position in societies and to operate actively in the energy market. Therefore, the new EU legislation on CEs should effectively be transposed and then properly and intensively implemented in each EU Member State.
- the direct and central focus on building renovation and energy efficiency. CE directly supports relevant activities – engage citizens to lower consumption, deploy more efficient infrastructure, collective decision making, supporting communities at large to initiate buildings renovation projects and focus on fighting energy poverty.
- The Green Deal does not include:
- concrete detailed measures on how to support the democratisation of the energy system, assure and encourage communities as well as local municipalities participating in energy production. There is the need to include more thorough description about the role and expectations of CE in this, as CE is the prime opportunity for communities to take up ownership of a fair share of the decentralised and renewable energy production. of the near future.
- The Clean Energy Package (CEP) clearly acknowledges the big potential of Community Energy since it will secure social acceptance of the energy transition. It states that in every member state (MS) the barriers to community energy should be mapped and consequently removed with determined political action at all levels. Creating a stable policy framework and eliminating regulatory barriers is the key to seize the potential of CE.
We invite all European institutions, national, regional and local legislative bodies as well as local authorities and all European citizens to take initiative on Community Energy.
The potential of Community Energy is at hand, we need the right support from all to bring the changes by action.
We are currently asking for feedback on community energy policy proposals for the Baltic Sea Region. They are based on Co2mmunity research and formulated by Tyrsky Consulting Ltd. Please give us a little bit of your time and take part in our short survey.
Click here to get to the formular. It is accessible until the 6th of March 2020.
Thank you very much for your help!
A housing association in Lappeenranta, Finland, switched their heating system from district heating to geothermal heating half a year ago. The savings in the price of heating are 24 000 euros per year, which is a significant sum. “With this sum, we will finance the energy transition costs completely”, states Vesa Tikkanen, member of the board of the housing association. The payback time for the whole renovation will be around six years. In addition to geothermal heating, also exhaust air is recovered in the building. Next summer, an own solar panel system will start to generate power for all the systems to run.
The maintenance charge of apartments will be kept on the same level as before, however, with lower costs of heating, the funds can be retained and used for other maintenances, e.g. for facades, water and sewage systems. The chairman of the housing association, Tapio Saarelainen, says that the apartments which have been sold after the transition, have been sold for a significantly higher price than usual for Lappeenranta. “We aim to keep our apartment house in such a condition that people enjoy living here and we can call ourselves the most interesting apartment house in the region”.
This transition is not unique. Many housing associations discuss the possibility for a change from district heating and electricity bills with rising costs. Last year, 9000 new installations of geothermal heating systems were made in Finland. Every second new detached private house is heated with a geothermal heating system. In Finland, this means a total of 150 000 active geothermal heating systems nationwide.
For housing associations, there are different purchase options available. Geothermal heating can be purchased also as a service and after the service period and its payments are due, the geothermal heating system in use will change its ownership from the service provider to the housing association. With this, high investment costs at the beginning are not a barrier.
This has also wider effects for locally operated district heating systems, their profitability and business models. As the price of geothermal heating is approximately 40 euro per megawatt hour, district heating costs twice as much. District heating also needs continuous maintenance of its infrastructure. There is a tendency towards regional solutions covered by geothermal heating and also traditional energy companies are looking more into these possibilities in the future.
Find the whole article here (in Finnish).
On the 22nd of January 2020, in the frame of the Project Partner Meeting in Karlskrona, Sweden, the participants visited the Karlskrona Solpark. On a dumpsite close to the city, the local energy company Affärsverken has built a large solar-PV plant. Robbert Prinselaar from Affärsverken explained that 1.2 MW (4000 panels!) have already been built, but there are plans for up to 6 MW. The location is particularly appropriate since the land can not be used for any other purpose. Also, Karlskrona is known to be one of the sunniest places in Sweden.
The project is administrated by the energy company (owned by the municipality) but the panels are owned by a large number of citizens and companies of the region. They are organised as a cooperative owning the panels and leasing the land. A share of 100W, producing 100kWh per year, costs 1000 kronor (around 100 €).
You can find the project in our database.
In the framework of transnational exchange, our project partner Riga Planning Region has produced a video about Co2mmunity in Denmark and Latvia. The first part was filmed at the Climate Day in Middelfart, Denmark in August 2019. You can find the post about the event here. In the second part, the municipality of Mārupe, Latvia explains their involvement into Co2mmunity.